VocalBooth Gold, Platinum and Diamond Series Review

Sep 22, 2010 4:20 PM, By Michael Cooper

PORTABLE ROOMS FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION, BROADCAST AND REHEARSAL

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Figure 1: VocalBooth Gold Series rooms are typically treated acoustically with soy-based Auralex foam inside.

Figure 1: VocalBooth Gold Series rooms are typically treated acoustically with soy-based Auralex foam inside.

Not everyone can afford to build a studio from the ground up, and retrofitting an existing space to achieve isolation and flattering acoustics can be prohibitively time-consuming and disruptive. To address these issues, VocalBooth™ provides modular isolation booths for recording, mixing, broadcast and rehearsal. Two of the company’s lines—the Gold and Platinum Series—sport a rectangular footprint and parallel, opposing walls. You can also order a booth with a square footprint, but these reinforce standing waves. Platinum Series booths feature a “floating” floor and walls—essentially a room within a room—and purportedly offer greater isolation from the outside world as compared to the nonfloating Gold Series booths. (See Fig. 1.) Both types have roughly 90 percent of the inside surface area of their wall panels, ceiling and door treated with absorbent acoustic products: pressed polyester panels or 2-inch, open-cell, soy-based Auralex foam. The Diamond Series is essentially a Gold or Platinum booth modified to have five splayed (non-parallel) walls. (See Fig. 2.) Splayed walls greatly reduce the strength of standing waves and flutter echoes that skew frequency and phase response. I recently visited VocalBooth’s factory, with SPL meter in hand, to test a couple of their “Platinum Diamond” (five-wall Platinum) and Gold Series booths.

MADE TO ORDER
VocalBooth will build booths in any dimensions. (Wall lengths must be specified in 1-foot increments.) Available wall lengths range from four feet (a booth for one person) to 18 feet—large enough to accommodate a four- or five-piece band or a mixing console and outboard gear. You can put the door and one or more windows on any wall. Ceilings are typically 82 inches high on the inside of the booth, but a higher ceiling can be ordered.

ONLINE EXTRAS

WATCH:
Video: VocalBooth Platinum Series

Floors are multilayered for increased isolation, and are typically finished with a wood-and-carpet base on the booth’s interior. You could order a booth with a hardwood interior floor that will provide a more live sound. Although a large Platinum booth with a hardwood floor can weigh around a ton, the weight per square foot is only 28 to 31 pounds—less than that of the existing building you’ll probably put the booth in. On the other hand, a 4x4-foot Gold Series booth weighs only about 875 pounds fully assembled. Doors are solid-core. The door seals create a bead of air between the door and jamb (or, in the case of the door sweep, the threshold) when the door closes, improving isolation.

VocalBooths come standard with electronic-ballast fluorescent lighting, which doesn’t induce noise into electronic circuits unless a mic is placed unreasonably close to the bulbs. All booths include a passive-active ventilation system. The fan-driven active component sucks warm air out of the booth while cooler air from outside the booth is drawn inside through a vent that reduces air speed and resonances. The ventilation channels have multiple bends along their traverse, attenuating both external and ventilation-induced noise. Cable-passage ports are also included.

Assembling a Platinum booth (and all but the smallest Gold Series booths, whether Diamond configuration or rectangular) requires two people. The booths are designed for quick multiple assembly/breakdown. Using only a screw gun with a Phillips head bit, two people can purportedly assemble a Gold booth in about 45 minutes. An optional caster wheelbase can be ordered for booths up to 10x10 feet in size.






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